“Washington did a great thing by passing some common sense legislation this February to solidify its standing as the worst spot in the country for human traffickers. The two new laws make it illegal to coerce someone into involuntary servitude by threatening them on the basis of their immigration status. This sort of coercion can include withholding or threatening to destroy immigration paperwork, as well as threatening to tell law enforcement about a person’s undocumented status.[…]
The good news is that many states have made significant progress in recent years when it comes to getting anti-human trafficking legislation on the books. Polaris Project, one of the world’s most prominent organizations in the fight against human trafficking, conducts an annual study to assess states on their human trafficking legislation. The study groups states into four tiers based on criteria that includes sex trafficking provisions, labor trafficking provisions, support for victims and laws protecting trafficked minors from prosecution when they’ve been forced or manipulated into illegal activities like prostitution.[…]
Kathleen Morris is a program manager for the Washington Anti-Trafficking Response Network (WARN). She said that while it’s nice to have the designation as the best state on human trafficking legislation, she’d like to see a lot of improvements in Washington. In particular, she would like to see her state work on ‘vacating all crimes committed under the influence of trafficking, not just certain ones.’
Morris said, ‘While it’s hard to comment on every law that has been passed, from my perspective I haven’t seen a tremendous amount of influence on individuals. It’s all well and good to pass laws, but implementation is the key to having any effect.'”
This is a significantly shortened excerpt. To read the full article, please visit the PolicyMic website http://www.policymic.com/articles/84879/has-your-state-joined-the-fight-against-human-trafficking-check-this-map
Tabitha comes from Washington, DC. Her writing has appeared in The Washington Post and NationSwell.She holds a masters from Columbia Journalism School.